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Political Smell Test: Patty Murray taking Wall Street dollars?

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on May 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm with 16 Comments »
September 23, 2010 3:29 pm

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash
Having trouble sorting out the facts from the spin in political speeches, TV ads and mailers? The Political Buzz team is ready to fact check this season’s campaign. E-mail your questions to Political Smell Test.


THE CLAIM: The National Republican Senatorial Committee says Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is being duplicitous by taking campaign contributions from the financial sector, including Goldman Sachs, while at the same time demanding tough Wall Street reforms.

In a press release, Republican spokeswoman Amber Marchand said Murray, who is up for re-election, should follow the lead of Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and donate her Goldman Sachs contributions to charity.
Murray’s communications director, Alex Glass, said Murray is not taking contributions from Goldman Sachs, including the firm’s political action committee and executives, during this election cycle.

THE FACTS: From 1992, when she was first elected, to the current election cycle, Murray has received nearly $515,000 in contributions from the securities and investment community, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks campaign donations.

Over the years, Murray’s received $28,000 from Goldman Sachs. She has not taken money from the Wall Street firm during this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

She is hardly alone among Democrats or Republicans in taking donations from Wall Street.

From 1989 to 2010, Goldman Sachs contributed a total of more than $16.4 million to Senate and House candidates. Of the more than 500 current and former members of Congress who received Goldman Sachs contributions between 1989 and 2010, Murray ranked 103rd.

President Barack Obama, a former Illinois senator, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, received the most. Obama received $16 million and McCain $10.3 million.

The financial sector contributed a total of nearly $129 million to Senate and House campaigns from 1989 to 2010. Murray ranked 74th among the 120 senators and former senators who served during the time period in terms of financial sector contributions.

Republicans say Murray is being two-faced in taking Wall Street money while calling for financial reform. “As Murray plays the populist for the cameras but acts like a practiced politician behind closed doors, Washingtonians can see through her hypocrisy, and they will hold her accountable this November,” said Marchand.

Murray has spoken out forcefully for reform, including earlier this week when she said, “We can never again let the risks and irresponsible behavior of Wall Street hurt Main Street this way. It is time to put progress before politics and people before Wall Street.”

REALITY CHECK: There are no indications Murray violated campaign finance laws in accepting the contributions. It will be up to voters to decide whether criticizing the financial industry and Goldman Sachs after having taken campaign contributions from them in the past constitutes hypocrisy, courage or typical politics.

UPDATE: Murray is not going to give the $28,000 to charity. It’s been spent. Here is what Alex Glass said, when asked about the $28,000:

“No. She hasn’t taken any money this cycle. She is fighting hard for Wall Street reform and to crack down on the reckless behavior that has cost Washington state residents their jobs, homes and pensions.”

MORE READING: For a comprehensive analysis of the finance industry’s influence on Capitol Hill, read the “Crossing Wall Street” series at the Center for Responsive Politics.

Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. Whatever1214 says:

    While Goldman Sachs contributed to both Democrats and Republicans, most of the contributions went to Democrats, including almost a million dollars to Obama.


    Sometimes I wonder who Les Blumenthal works for, the TNT or the DNC.

  2. lovethemountains says:

    Just retire Murray at election time along with any other politician (D or R) who talks out of both sides of their mouths. Let us get back to the idea that elected officials are temporary employees of the citizens.

  3. Whatever1214 says:

    For some reason the link I gave is not working. You can check on campaign contributions by going to OpenSecrets.org .

  4. twowrigs says:


  5. Final_Analysis says:

    Who cares who donated to her campaigns, she has been in office way too long and needs to retire.

    The citizens of Washington State need a Senator who will listen to us and represent us, not Harry Reid or the special interest groups.

  6. John Henrikson says:


    Good point on Dems benefiting from Wall Street money. (If there is one thing the finance industry has proved, it’s that they know how to work both sides of a bet.) We went back and added G.S. dollars to Obama and McCain and I added a widget from the CFRP to show finance sector donations in this election cycle.

    In the future, if you see the need for more information or detail, ask for it and we’ll dig it out. (That’s the beauty of online.) Let’s keep the conversation going.

    John Henrikson, TNT

  7. You say TNT or DNC like there is a difference in the two’s “facts” :)

  8. This article reads like a straight out press release form Patty Murray campaign Headquarters.

  9. This is just the beginning of the nasty smear tactics aimed at Patty Murray that will be ladled out in the coming months, like thick pea soup, by the Republican Party. There is no level to which they will not stoop to discredit her excellent record and get this seat for a Repugnut.

  10. seattlesailor4 says:

    Murray does not represent US citizens.

    She legislates for Foreign workers here and in China.
    Foreign corporations (like Goldmans-they act against USA’s interests )

    It is time we have legislators that take no multi-national money and act
    in US citizens interests.
    (GOP has screwed USA for 30 years, none of them can do the job)

  11. randydutton says:

    From http://www.opensecrets.org Top 5 industries Lawyers Murray’s #1 industry contributor with $472,500 contributed.

    Lobbyists were #2 with $401,600.

    Forget the Goldman Sach contributions, why hasn’t Murray initiated or supported an investigation into the infiltration by GS people into the current administration?

    There are about 2 dozen GS people in government positions to create or implement policy. Where are the watchdogs?

    Because of Murray and her ilk, America is BROKE. We own $108 trillion in debt and unfunded obligations. Murray rubberstamps the progressive agenda to add another $10 trillion of DEBT to our taxpayers by 2020. This MUST STOP.

    ANYBODY but MURRAY in 2010

  12. randydutton says:

    Murray is complicit in allowing GS people to partly control our economy. (Yes, Bush and Clinton are at fault too).

    Goldman has more than 30 ex-government officials working as registered lobbyists on staff, including former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) to represent its interests on issues related to TARP, according to Mother Jones.

    Henry Paulson: Served as Treasury Secretary under President George W. Bush.
    Was CEO of Goldman from 1999 to 2006.
    Robert Rubin: Served as Treasury Secretary under President Clinton.
    Previously, he was co-chairman of Goldman from 1990 to 1992.
    Robert K. Steel: Served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, the principal adviser to the secretary on matters of domestic finance and led the department’s activities with respect to the domestic financial system, fiscal policy and operations, governmental assets and liabilities, and related economic and financial matters.
    Retired from Goldman as a vice chairman of the firm in 2004, where he worked as head of equities for Europe and head of the Equities Division in New York.
    Mark Patterson: Chief of Staff to Secretary Tim Geithner
    Was director of government affairs at Goldman.
    Dan Jester: Key adviser to Geithner, who played a key role in shaping the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
    Was strategic officer at Goldman.
    Steve Shafran: Adviser helping to shape Treasury’s effort to guarantee money market funds.
    Was expert in corporate restructuring at Goldman.
    Kendrick Wilson: Brought in to advise former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, another Goldman alum — after a personal call from his old Harvard Business School classmate, George W. Bush — to advise him on how to fix the financial markets. Paulson brought Wilson to Goldman in 1998 from Lazard Freres. Before that, Wilson was president of Ranieri & Co., which was established by Lew Ranieri. While at Salomon Brothers in the 1970s, Ranieri pioneered mortgage-backed securities, the exotic financial instruments that helped stoke the mortgage bubble. In other words, the man brought in to fend off a financial crisis appears to be a protege of one of the men who helped cause it.
    Was senior investment banker at Goldman.
    Neel T. Kashkari: Appointed by Paulson to oversee the $700 billion TARP fund and was considered Paulson’s right hand man during the crisis, all at the tender age of 35. Kashkari was criticized for the lack of oversight of the funds disbursement, which he said would have been impossible since the funs are fungible. This assertion has been largely refuted by Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Kashkari was also responsible for recruiting Reuben Jeffrey.
    Was technology investment banker for Goldman in San Francisco from 2004 to 2006.
    Reuben Jeffrey: Selected by fellow Goldman alum Kashkari as the interim chief investment officer for the bailout. He was formerly the chairman of the CFTC, a role currently held by fellow Goldmanite Gary Gensler, as well as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs.
    Was executive for 18 years at Goldman, beginning in 1983.
    Edward C. Forst: Left his post as executive vice president at Harvard to serve as an advisor on setting up TARP, but has since returned to the school.
    Was global head of the Investment Management Division at Goldman for 14 years.
    William Dudley: President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    Was former chief economist and advisory director at Goldman where he worked from 1986 to 2007.
    Stephen Friedman: Was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York until May 2009, when he was pressured to resign after buying Goldman shares in December and January. Previously, he was director of President George W. Bush’s National Economic Council.
    Joined Goldman in 1966 and was co-chairman from 1990 to 1994.
    Gary Gensler: Appointed by Obama to head the CFTC. This was the commission headed by Brooksley Born in the late 1990’s, when Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin overruled her attempts to regulate credit-default swaps; fellow Goldmanite Reuben Jeffrey also held this position. Gensler worked in the Treasury Department as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1997-1999 and as Under Secretary from 1999-2001, a position he received from Lawrence Summers.
    Was partner in Goldman from 1979-1996
    Sonal Shah: Appointed to Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and an Advisory Board Member for the Obama-Biden Transition Project in 2008. Shah had previously held a variety of positions in the Treasury Department from 1995 to early 2002.
    Was a former Vice President at Goldman from 2004 to 2007.
    Joshua Bolten: Former chief of staff with the Bush administration as well as former director of the Office of Management and Budget until 2006.
    Was executive director of Government Affairs for Goldman Sachs from 1994 to 1999. Bolten was instrumental in recruiting his fellow Goldman alum Henry Paulson as Treasury Secretary.
    Jon Corzine: A strong supporter and political ally of Obama, Corzine is currently the governor of New Jersey. Before being elected governor, he served as the New Jersey representative to the U.S. Congress from 2001-2006, where he served on the Banking and Budget Committees.
    Began working for Goldman in 1975 and worked his way up to chairman and co-CEO before being pushed out in 1998.
    Robert Zoellick: Currently serves as president of the World Bank and previously was deputy secretary of state.
    Was previously a managing director at Goldman, which he joined in 2006.
    James Johnson: Was involved in the vice-presidential selection process for the Obama campaign and served as president and CEO of Fannie Mae.
    Board member of Goldman.
    Kenneth D. Brody: Was former president and chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the US.
    Worked for Goldman for 20 years, founded and heading up its high-technology investment banking group and leading the firm’s real-estate investment banking group.
    Sidney Weinberg: Served as vice-chair for FDR’s War Production Board during World War II.
    The head of Goldman from 1930 to 1969, nicknamed “Mr. Wall Street,” he worked his way up at the firm after starting as a $3-a-week janitor’s assistant.
    Richard Gephardt: Was House Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 and House Minority Leader from 1995 to 2003.
    His lobbying firm was hired by Goldman to represent its interests on issues related to TARP.
    Michael Paese: Former top staffer to Rep. Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
    Is Goldman’s new top lobbyist. He will join the firm as director of government affairs – last year, that position was occupied by Mark Patterson, now the chief of staff at the Treasury Department. Paese has swung through the revolving doors several times – he previously worked at JPMorgan and Mercantile Bankshares and was senior minority counsel at the Financial Services Committee.
    Faryar Shirzad: Former top economic aide to President George W. Bush and Republican counsel to the Senate Finance Committee.
    He now lobbies the government on behalf of Goldman Sachs as the firm’s Global Head of the Office of Government Affairs.
    Richard Y. Roberts: Former SEC commissioner.
    Now working as a principal at RR&G LLC, which was hired by Goldman to lobby on TARP.
    Steven Elmendorf: Former chief of staff to then-House minority Leader Rich Gephardt.
    Now runs his own lobbying firm, where Goldman is one of his clients.
    Robert Cogorno: Former Gephardt aide and one-time floor director for Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the No. 2 House Democrat.
    Works for Elmendorf Strategies, where he lobbies for Goldman and Citigroup.
    Chris Javens: Ex-tax policy adviser to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
    Now lobbies for Goldman.
    E. Gerald Corrigan was president of the New York Fed from 1985 to 1993. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 and currently is a partner and managing director; he was also appointed chairman of GS Bank USA, the firm’s holding company, in September 2008.
    Lori E Laudien: Former counsel for the Senate Finance Committee in 1996-1997
    Has been a lobbyist for Goldman since 2005.
    Marti Thomas: Executive Floor Assistant to Dick Gephardt from 1989-1998, he went on to serve in the Treasury Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax and Budget from 1998-1999, and as Assistant Secretary in Legal Affairs and Public Policy in 2000.
    Joined Goldman as the Federal Legislative Affairs Leader from 2007-2009.
    Kenneth Connolly: Was staff director of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee).
    Became a Vice President at Goldman in 2008.
    Arthur Levitt: The longest-serving SEC chairman (1993 to 2001).
    Hired by Goldman in June 2009 as an adviser on public policy and other matters.

  13. nwdigest says:

    What doesn’t pass the smell test is this milquetoast “fact check” you’ve attempted here. Take a look at this report: http://www.publicola.net/2010/05/04/reporting-101

    Murray may not have taken money directly from the horses mouth. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t taken a boat load from their lobbyists. If you’re going to cover the big leagues, at least get acquainted with the rules of the game as played by Patty Murray & Co.

  14. InsideJob says:

    It was laundered through the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee into her campaign, and continues to be. This article simply is not being honest.

  15. racoon says:

    Murray sold her soul years ago, I hardly recognize her any more.

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